The Science of Experience : Our new blog series

Would you like to know what's really working out in the field? "The Science of Experience" series will be used to share valuable insights gained from experiential and event marketing campaigns across the world. In the 6 months since we started deploying Exposure:EX on experiential activations we have noticed a number of patterns emerging that we believe will be really helpful to experiential marketing professionals everywhere.

The first post in the series will be "The party factor. Why your engagement numbers are better than you think".

If you have any ideas for posts, questions you'd like us to investigate or would like to contribute please contact jeremy at forgesp dot com.

Experiential : What's happening at the 'Top of the Funnel'?

As more marketing $ are being invested by brands both large and small in 'Experiential' how are agencies answering questions about ROI? Experiential is about taking the brand to the consumer in a physical sense, creating experiences that improve the emotional connections, turning consumers into fans and influencers. The power of recommendation in today's crowded marketplace is at a huge premium.

Sophisticated tools and strategies have been employed to measure impact generally based around sharing on social media; the instagram photobooth, twitter hashtags, facebook checkins etc.

The tools available for measuring the digital world are widely adopted, all the major social platforms have built in analytics and 3rd party services like Topsy, Sprout, Hootsuite, Bufffer etc allow multi channel monitoring.

Those are really useful but what's happening at the 'Top of the Funnel".

How many people saw your activation?

How many chose to physically engage?

Once you have that basic data your sophisticated digital analytics can take over, enabling the agency to build a complete picture from 'first look' to 'final action & reach'.

Before deciding where to take your Experiential Activation you'll consider the basic demographics and size of the audience in that location. This is data you'll receive from the venue owner, be they a music festival or shopping destination. This data is very general, much like print and television.

You want more, you've grown to expect better. This high level data is frustratingly vague.

So how do you fill in that data gap?

Physical analytics.

Our own platform, Exposure Solo, listens for the anonymous WiFi beacons transmitted by every smartphone. This unique ID is then used to measure;

How many people saw our activation?

Exposure Solo - Experiential Analytics


How many people chose to engage?

Exposure Solo - Experiential Analytics (1)


How long did they engage for?

Exposure Solo - Experiential Analytics (2)


Top of the Funnel data is now concrete and reliable rather than vague and anecdotal.

Best of all this is completely frictionless, our experience shows that approx 70% of people have WiFi enabled on their smartphone in outdoor environments. Once you move indoors to areas that have free WiFi then it is nearer 85%. That's a fantastic sample size, one which lends real impact to your overall analytics.

Let us know if you'd like to book an online demo.

Was the Marriott's $600k fine from the FCC fair?

The Marriott don't think so, they're maintaining that they were completely justified in blocking their guest's personal hotspot devices in order to ensure that....

....when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hot spots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft....

What is a 'rogue' wireless hotspot? In this case it is any device that creates a private WiFi network within the Marriott's venue that the venue themselves did not set up and cannot manage.

How did the Marriott's staff protect against these rogue devices? They used a feature common to enterprise WiFi systems that detects and neutralises these rogues by spoofing the WiFi network name and sending disassocition packets. Basically, performing an aggressive attack on that device.

In a secure network environment like say a bank, school or hospital, where you absolutely don't want any WiFi devices providing unauthorised connections to your secure network this 'Rogue AP Detection' functionality is really important. You don't want an employee hanging a WiFi router off the end of an Ethernet cable which then allows any malicious attacker access to your private data.

Why did the FCC give the Marriott such a public dressing down then?

Because the security argument, which Marriott maintain, doesn't stand up in this case. The MiFi devices they were blocking weren't hardwired into marriott's own cabled network, they are wireless only, WiFi for the owner's phones & tablets, 3G/4G for the Internet connection.

However, their argument about maintaining the quality of service for the in house WiFi network does have merit. We all know that delivering a reliable, fast WiFi service for an event with many hundreds or thousands of people in one place is tough because it mostly doesn't work.

This would be a good time to read my '9 reasons why the WiFi sucks at your event' post to find out why that's the case. 

Now, because we've all had more bad experiences with WiFi at events than good ones we have carry a backup, the trusty mobile hotspot. They can be a real lifesaver and are popular with those of us who are always on the road.

Putting my event WiFi manager hat on for a second I can say with 100% conviction that I also absolutely detest the things. press conferences and product launches are the worst environments because every photographer and live blogger has one, at least one in fact. You could have built a kickass WiFi infrastructure only to find dozens of these things clogging up your pristine airspace like a swarm of drones.

How do you stop people wanting to use them.

Simple answer. Build a great WiFi service, make it easy to use and good value. People have personal hotspots for two reasons; 1. Because more often than not the conference WiFi sucks and 2. Because they want to avoid price gouging.

Take those reasons away and the devices will disappear as well and nobody needs to feel ripped off or as if their rights are being impinged upon and we can keep government out of it. There's no reason it should have gone that far.

Apple still a winner with the cool kids....

Our Exposure Event Analytics platform has been in operation throughout the year at a range of indoor and outdoor events. Among these were an established rock festival, an up and coming dance music festival and a high profile art fair. Exposure features reports on average dwell time, attendee flow and heatmapping. We are also able to analyse what devices people are using. And one thing is clear, no matter what the sales charts say the cool kids' love affair with Apple products continues.


*Market share data is from Comscore's MobiLens report for USA. We used this as the three events we examined were all in the USA.

As the audience age drops so does the percentage of Apple devices. You can draw any number of conclusions from that but the percentage difference in mean income for these groups will be wildly different than device ownership. The kids will make sacrifices to own an iPhone and people who can drop $20,000 on a limited edition print probably wouldn't think to buy anything else.

It's apparent that even though the overall market share data points to a growing share for Samsung and others Apple still maintains a large customer base in the affluent, younger demographic that attends music and art events.

If you have any questions about this data or the Exposure Event Analytics platform email me <jeremy at forgesp dot com> or use the contact form.